One could easily write three books on “How to Recover from Emotional Trauma” and still not do the complexity of the topic justice. So, we won’t claim that this blog post has all the answers you might be looking for. It is merely meant as an introduction, a first overview of what emotional trauma is and how you can get over the pain and work on feeling safe again.
We will cover questions like “What causes Emotional Trauma?”, “What are the symptoms of Emotional Trauma?” as well as some coping strategies. More often than not people who suffered emotional trauma need professional help in form of therapy or counselling but there are numerous things you can do yourself to support and advance on your healing journey.
If you have suffered emotional trauma please know that you can heal from it – even though it might seem or feel impossible. That being said, please also keep in mind that each trauma has a unique cause and therefore the way you recover from it will be unique as well.
There is no one size fits all and there’s no quick fix either: What works well for one person might not work at all for the next; one thing is for sure, though, it will involve work. When you embark on this often not straightforward path, please do so with utmost patience and kindness towards yourself and remember that one of the most courageous things you can do is ask for and accept help.
What is Emotional Trauma?
Most people who have experienced emotional trauma are left with a sense of helplessness, disempowerment and disconnection – from others and sometimes even from themselves. How to recover from emotional trauma is a really difficult question
They feel unsafe in this world and sometimes within their own body. They exist in a state of fear – and therefore experience permanent stress – as their sense of security has been shattered by a deeply distressing or disturbing event that either actually threatened their life or was perceived as life threatening.
The memories of the physical or non-physical event and the emotions that are attached to them might feel too overwhelming to process and integrate. They may haunt you or leave you feeling stuck in an endless loop of anxiety, worthlessness, shame, despair, numbness, etc. and affect your ability to cope with day-to-day life.
You may come to believe that there is something inherently wrong with you but that’s not true. The state you find yourself in is a response to what you lived through – based on all the tools and coping strategies that you have had at your disposal until now.
The trauma is not what happened but your response to the event. And it is very important to remember that your emotional trauma does not define who you truly are. However, trauma gets stored in the body and if you leave it untreated it can fester there and affect your life until you process it.
Causes of Emotional Trauma
Emotional trauma can get caused by something you see, hear, witness or experience. Emotional trauma is subjective. That means that an event that causes a trauma response in one person might not affect another person in the same way or at all. Examples of potential causes of emotional trauma are:
What are the symptoms?
However emotional trauma expresses itself in you, try and be as patient with and accepting towards yourself as you possibly can. You haven’t done nor are you doing anything wrong. Whatever symptoms of emotional trauma you might be experiencing, it’s important to keep in mind that they are normal responses of your mind and body to abnormal events.
The symptoms you experience will very much depend on your conditioning and experiences previous to the event that caused the emotional trauma as well as your perspective and general outlook on life.
Here are examples of physical and psychological symptoms of emotional trauma:
How to Cope with Emotional Trauma
At the core of emotional trauma are disconnection and disempowerment. The former will lead to you wanting to pull away and isolate yourself from other people. If you go down this path, it will prolong your healing journey and make it quite a bit harder and a lot darker. How to recover from emotional trauma is important to get your life back on track.
Full recovery from trauma can’t occur in isolation. It relies on the restoration of old or the creation of new relationships in which you feel safe, seen and heard and ideally accepted for who you are. As much as you don’t want to walk this path alone, it is you who has to do the work and put one foot in front of the other on this healing journey.
The second pillar of recovery from emotional trauma is empowerment. It means stepping into your own power and embracing the fact that – even though you hopefully get the support, guidance, assistance, advice, and care you need to keep going – it is you who has to and actually can reclaim yourself and your life. No one can do it for you.
The only way out is through: To be able to live in the present moment again without randomly or constantly feeling overwhelmed by the memories of the trauma and the emotions and thoughts that come along with it, you have to face and process them. This can be done in various ways and at whatever pace is right for you.
The goal is not to go back to life as it was before the event happened as that’s not possible but to integrate what you lived through so it becomes part of your life story instead of the story that controls your life and takes over your identity.
Again, what works for someone else doesn’t necessarily have to work for you. For many people, it makes sense to do this with a therapist or counsellor.
As it is crucial that you begin feeling safe again, you should seek out or create an environment that offers stability and security before you start exploring and expressing your emotions. This can happen at home – if it is a space free of physical and emotional abuse – or, for example, in a retreat setting.
How to recover from emotional trauma we need to take action. The following options, activities and modalities can help you cope with emotional trauma:
New Life Portugal Programs
How to recover from emotional trauma
A wellness retreat and recovery centre for anyone who is interested in cultivating sustainable well-being but with a special focus on those who are dealing with depression, anxiety, stress and burnout.
We offer targeted, short-term, trauma-informed counselling as well as a carefully designed curriculum of therapeutic workshops, community-led support groups and mindfulness-based group excursions in addition to our daily guided meditation and yoga sessions.
A team of experts with real-life experience will skillfully guide and support you every step of the way on your healing journey.
Choosing one of New Life’s program means becoming part of an engaged community that fosters deep and meaningful connections.
Both, our retreat curriculum as well as the centre itself, are designed to allow plenty of me-time and opportunities to immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings of the Serra da Estrela.
Let yourself be nourished by and ground yourself in the serenity and beauty of the mountains, forests, lakes and rivers of Portugal’s oldest natural park.
Should you have any questions or require more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.